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Posts Tagged ‘The Kingsmen

Me gotta go…


In 1963, a Portland high school band called the Kingsmen covered the song “Louie Louie,” originally recorded by Richard Berry eight years earlier. Their version has become a classic– though almost no one has any idea what the actual words are.  (Hear it here.)  As it happened, the band had a one-hour recording session in which to lay down both the A and B sides of their first record.  To simulate a live performance, singer Jack Ely was forced to lean back and sing into a microphone suspended from the ceiling. “It was more yelling than singing,” Ely said, “’cause I was trying to be heard over all the instruments.”  It didn’t help that he was wearing braces at the time of the performance, further aggravating his infamously slurred words.  Still, the raw recording worked– it sold over 1 million copies, going gold.

It probably helped that Indiana Governor Matthew E. Welsh, assuming that obscurity meant obscenity, banned the song.  Soon after, an angry parent wrote to then-U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, insisting that the lyrics were dirty. Kennedy put FBI on the case; but the crime lab concluded,  after four months of investigation, that the the recording could not be interpreted, that it was “unintelligible at any speed.”  The lyrics are in fact innocent; but the FBI missed something:  at about 0:53 into the song– audibly, but not obviously– Lynn Easton, the band’s drummer, drops a drumstick… and drops the f-bomb.  (Hear it here.)


As we mind our manners, we might recall that it was on this date in 1980 that AC/DC earned their first Top 40 hit with “You Shook Me All Night Long.”  The maiden voyage of Brian Johnson (who’d replaced the band’s original lead singer Bon Scott after Scott’s untimely the prior year), it was the lead single on Back in Black, an album that has sold over 20 million copies.

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Written by (Roughly) Daily

October 25, 2013 at 1:01 am

Where everybody knows your name…

Some have fame thrust upon them…


Some just happen upon it along the way…


Artist and scientist Stephen Von Worley has mashed up Google Maps and the Open Street Map Project to create a search tool that will let one find all of the streets in the U.S. that share one’s name (first name, for now… as a bonus, one also gets places and things).

One can visit Steve’s Data Pointed to find one’s namesakes…

As we rethink our routes, we might recall that it was on this date in 1965 that the FBI exonerated “Louie Louie,” declaring that the lyrics of the 1963 recording by The Kingsmen– widely rumored to be “dirty”— were in fact simply indecipherable.  After analyzing the disc at its intended 45 rpm and also at 33 1/3 and 78, and interviewing a member of the band, the FBI Laboratory declared the lyrics to be officially “unintelligible at any speed.”

In fact the song’s creator, Richard Berry, had released “Louie Louie” to mild regional success– and no lyrical controversy– a decade earlier.  But the FBI’s verdict notwithstanding, a cloud hovered over the tune: in 2005, the superintendent of the Benton Harbor, Michigan school system refused to let the marching band at one of the schools play the song in a parade; she later relented.

from the FBI’s “Louie Louie” file (source)

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